The Amazon Fire TV Recast is one of the more interesting devices released by Amazon in recent memory. That's not because it's particularly original — we've used other similar devices before.
Instead, it's what it means for the streaming TV industry as a whole that intrigues us. The Fire TV Recast is going to be a boon for over-the-air television in the internet age. It's going to be a boon for anyone who sells antennas. (Especially on Amazon.)
And it's going to help fill any holes left behind by the streaming services, which don't always carry local channels in every location. Plus, it makes recording those local channels simple.
Here are the major questions asked regarding the the Amazon Fire TV Recast — starting with a big red button pointing to where you can buy it.
What is the Amazon Fire TV Recast
The Amazon Fire TV Recast is what we like to call an over-the-air streaming box. It takes an over-the-air TV signal from an antenna and shares it to multiple devices.
The Recast works, for starters, with Amazon Fire TV devices — sticks, the Amazon Fire TV Cube and 4K pendant, and Amazon Fire TV-powered televisions. You'll also be able to watch content through Amazon's Android and iOS apps.
The Fire TV Recast also comes with a built-in hard drive so that you can record all that over-the-air content.
There are two versions of the recast — a two-tuner model (so that you can watch and record more than one thing at a time) with a 500-gigabyte hard drive for, and a four-tuner model with a 1TB hard drive.
How much does the Amazon Fire TV Recast cost?
The two-tuner Amazon Fire TV Recast costs $229. The four-tuner Fire TV Recast costs $279.
What else do I need to use a Fire TV Recast?
The Fire TV Recast is a headless box. It's just tuners, and a hard drive. To use a Fire TV Recast you'll also need either an Android phone or an iOS device, or an Amazon Fire TV device — and you'll also need an over-the-air antenna.
(We'll assume you already have a home Wifi network set up.)
You also can watch on the Amazon Echo Show.
Does the Amazon Fire TV Recast come with an antenna?
It does not. You'll need your own over-the-air antenna.
You can find our recommendations for the best over-the-air antennas here.
Can the Fire TV Recast record more than one show at a time?
It sure can. The two-tuner Fire TV Recast can record two channels simultaneously. The four-tuner Fire TV recast can record up to four channels simultaneously.
Here's the full breakdown, per Amazon:
With a two-tuner Recast:
- Record up to 2 programs at once,
- Watch up to 1 live and 1 recorded program on different devices, while recording another;
- Watch up to 2 recorded programs on different devices, while recording 2 programs in the background; OR
- Watch up to 2 live programs on different devices at once.
With a four-tuner Recast:
- Record up to 4 programs at once;
- Watch up to 1 live and 1 recorded program on different devices, while recording up to 3 other programs in the background;
- Watch up to 2 recorded programs on different devices, while recording up to 4 programs in the background; OR
- Watch up to 2 live programs on different devices at once while recording up to 2 other programs in the background.
Does the Fire TV Recast transcode video?
It does. Videos are recorded natively as an MPEG-2 file at 1920x1080 resolution. (And we're willing to bet someone will figure out how to rip those files right out of the Recast.)
The Recast then transcodes the files (for those of you who don't speak nerd, that just means changes the file format to make the file smaller and easier to stream) before shooting them out to all your devices.
It's precisely the same scheme as you'll find with a Tablo OTA streaming box.
How many channels can I watch simultaneously?
Here's where the fine print kicks in. While you can record as many as four channels at once (on the four-tuner model), you only can watch as many as two channels at the same time.
That's because the Fire TV Recast only has two transcoding tuners.
Does the Amazon Fire TV Recast use my internet data?
If you're only watching through your home network, internet use should be limited to whatever it takes to update the on-screen channels guide. The Recast prefers to connect directly to whatever device you're watching on — actually bypassing your home network, so that you'll get the best playback possible.
If you're watching on a phone outside your home network, it'll have to upload the data on the fly, and that will get your ISP involved.
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